I've been reading The News-Review for 40-plus years. It's always been my main source of local news and events.

We are now in the middle of a pandemic that's killed nearly 800,000 Americans in 22 months. But you wouldn't know it from reading The News-Review. COVID coverage has become sparse in these pages.

Three hundred Douglas County residents have died, six in the past week alone. Almost all have been unvaccinated.

People can't make rational decisions about their health if they don't have a reliable source of information. For decades, The News-Review has been our most reliable source of local news. Let's keep that tradition going. More COVID coverage, please.

Gayle Rosellini

Roseburg

If you're interested in submitting a Letter to the Editor, click here.

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(43) comments

Mike

Today's once per week Covid update from our County Commissioners indicates 1 MORE Covid death, bringing Douglas County's total to 310. The press release (below link) indicates 12 Douglas County residents have died over the past week.

https://files.constantcontact.com/16459d00701/b72c787c-100e-466d-85f0-38dc0ad40187.pdf

Mike

At 70% vaccinated, Douglas County's healthcare workforce is the 29th most vaccinated in Oregon. Only 7 counties have a lower percentage of their healthcare workers vaccinated according to the December 7 Oregon Health Authority Healthcare Report (below link).

https://public.tableau.com/app/profile/oregon.health.authority.covid.19/viz/OregonHealthCareWorkforceCOVID-19VaccineUptake/Dash-Overview?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

melrosereader

As it has been from the behinning, wearing a mask, social distancing, and washing hands is such a small ask. Not even a sacrifice; more like a change of everyday living habits.

I hear repeatedly how generous Douglas County folks are. I disagree. If y'all don't care enough to safeguard your neighbors by doing such a simple thing as wearing a face mask, then your claims about generosity are valueless words.

Mike

If Omicron is as contagious as the experts are saying, will those minimum respectful safeguard efforts make a difference?

Mike

It has been one year since the first 975 vaccine doses were delivered to Mercy Medical Center on December 17, 2020. One day earlier, our County Commissioners issued a press release stating “Douglas County Continues to be A Leader in Public Health…we are fortunate in Douglas County to have forward thinking leaders, like Commissioner Tim Freeman and our Board of Commissioners that…enabled us to respond nimbly and effectively to the COVID-19 pandemic…The Commissioners have been integral in making sure every aspect of our COVID response is the best it can be.” On that day, Douglas County had a total of 36 Covid deaths.

Fast forward to today. Where now are our County Commissioner’s daily Covid information press releases frequently patting their own selves on their collective backs for their “nimble” and “forward thinking” Covid response? Their self-aggrandizing press releases were issued 5 times per week back when County Covid deaths were averaging less than 4 per month. That changed. As Covid deaths in our County climbed to 80 per month, the Commissioners cut their daily Covid press release to 3 per week, then 2 per week and now to only once per week. The number of Commissioner Covid information press releases diminished as their ability to self-promote their “forward thinking” became less convincing while residents died in increasing numbers.

Over 309 Covid deaths have been reported in Douglas County, making it among the highest counties nationwide in per capita deaths. The vast majority were residents who chose NOT to be vaccinated. Their deaths were avoidable, needless. Those friends and family could still be with us today had this pandemic NOT been used as a political tool to promote misinformation and personal agendas. So much more could have been done had our elected leaders placed public safety above politics.

CitizenJoe

Mike, what you say is true, but incomplete. You write: "The vast majority were residents who chose NOT to be vaccinated. Their deaths were avoidable, needless." That is true; it's also true that every vaccinated person who died of COVID-19 caught it from someone, who caught it from someone; if more people were vaccinated, fewer people would be catching and transmitting the virus. Colin Powell, for example, was fully vaccinated; the transmission chain that ended his life had links forged by the unvaccinated. His death was also, in your words, among the "avoidable, needless" deaths that make up the vast majority of deaths now.

Needle-less idjits make for needless deaths among the vaccinated and unvaccinated alike.

mworden

CitizenJoe, so true.[thumbup]

Mike

[thumbup]

mworden

Mike, you're right that this was all political, but you're thinking too small. All that self-aggrandizement had a goal in mind. The idea was to put Commissioner Tim in line for higher office, very likely governor. Kate Brown can't run again in 2022. Tim has big money behind him. If redistricting had swung District 4 toward the Red, that could have been the goal. But it made us more blue.

Six months ago, there had been only 80 deaths and 3802 cases in Douglas County. We were not only one of the best counties in Oregon with a population over 100,000, we were one of the best in the nation when it came to cases and deaths per thousand.

Now, a mere six months later we're one of the worst performing. All those insufferably smug words about forward thinking and nimble leadership, along with the county's resolution saying no county employees could enforce covid restrictions and then the fierce statement about the county running the health department -- that was all done in the expectation of Tim being able to campaign saying he didn't infringe on liberty and Douglas County was still one of the best counties in the nation. "We love liberty. No masks, no mandates, and we did great whooo whoo. Vote for Tim."

That all went wrong after the 4th of July. Cases and deaths skyrocketed. Is it any wonder that the commissioners don't want to talk about it now? There were big dreams involved and they were shattered. Nobody's happy, especially not anyone who had their personal ambition tied to how well we were doing.

One of Tim Freeman's proudest accomplishments was getting rid of public health as a county department. In 2016, public health had a single quarter-time employee, Dr. Dannenhoffer. The county remained the Public Health Authority because that's how Oregon law works, but public health services were privatized.

Then when the pandemic was going great for us here in Douglas county -- low rates, low death count, no mandate enforcement -- Tim announced stridently that the county ran DPHN and Dr. D worked for the commissioners. He wanted to take credit for what had been a great success story. Then came 4th of July and Delta variant and the story isn't quite something to brag about these days.

It was all political and there was absolutely no hope that the commissioners or Senator Heard would place public safety above politics or personal ambition.

I want to hang Tim's words on him and make them stick. People died. A little humility and caring about public health before politics might have saved some of them.

It is not too late for the commissioners, either singly or in unison, to change their strategies. But I'm not holding my breath.

https://www.nrtoday.com/news/health/county-leaders-happy-with-results-of-privatizing-public-health/article_4eb73800-5f30-581a-aaca-80ea87784749.html

Mike

You say its not too late for the Commissioners to change. And who's thinking too small?

Mike

Douglas County’s Covid test positivity last week was the second highest in Oregon at 10.6% according to the Oregon Health Authority Weekly Community Transmission Report (below link). Only Tillamook County at 10.8% was higher.

https://www.oregon.gov/oha/covid19/Documents/DataReports/Weekly-County-Metrics.pdf

Mike

3 Cases of Omicron-variant detected in Oregon.

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/ORDHS/bulletins/300c3c8

mworden

Three more people dead since yesterday. Total 309

https://douglascounty-oregon.us/DocumentCenter/View/20518/12-14-21-Douglas-County-COVID-19-Seven-Day-Case-Chart

Mike

That's 18 Douglas County Covid deaths so far in December that we know about. Not so Merry Christmas for many.

Mike

An unexplained change has occurred. The Oregon Health Authority has been reporting more new Covid cases in Douglas County than have been reported by our County Commissioners since the County changed to its new Covid reporting format. This was just the opposite in the past when the County reported higher numbers than the state because state numbers are based on midnight the previous day and county numbers were based on 8:00 AM of the current day.

Momos

Advertising revenue s is a big part of their decision making process. Most local businesses want everyone to think Covid has gone away. That means no masks or restrictions. The less coverage, the less people think Covid is a problem. Same with the commissioners. The NR is probably getting economic pressure to downplay Covid coverage from local businesses. It's always about the money. Always.

TJ

[thumbup]

melrosereader

Over at Nickabobs this morning. Very busy. Not a mask in sight among customers or staff. No social distancing at all.

Mike

Everyone thinks Covid is over in Douglas County because the News-Review quit publishing articles about all the deaths, 15 so far this month in Douglas County that we know of.

mworden

On Thursday, the county said 300 people had died from covid. Today, Monday, the number is 306.

If a pack of feral dogs had killed 6 people over 4 days, would it make the news?

Mike

Not if the feral dogs were owned by one of Douglas County's Commissioners.

mworden

A few serious questions: Do you really think the N-R and the commissioners are in league with each other to suppress covid news? If so, who's behind it or in charge? Finally, do you have examples where shaming has been effective in changing behavior toward a more positive direction?

sectorstar

I don't know if I'd go as far as saying the commissioners control what gets published in the news review, but they defiantly seem to influence what gets published or how fast it does. A somewhat recent example of this, a few years ago the Oregonian broke out that story about the commissioners misusing county funds for their travel expenses among various other things that seemed questionable and possibly illegal. Almost every newspaper in the surrounding cities talked about this front page on their news papers the next day, yet not a peep about it in the news review, the paper from the city where the story originated from till almost a week later. Than the same day and days after for several weeks there were several articles and letters to the editor being published from various friends of Boice and Freeman talking about their great work ethic and basically how they are heroes of douglas county and can do no wrong. It seemed to me like some outside force rather it was the commissioners or someone else made sure that no article could be published about the misuse of the funds till those letters from their friends could be published with it as a means of damage control and to make sure their image was not tarnished.

Mike

Especially telling was the article by News-Review Editor Ian Campbell defending Douglas County Commissioners misuse of Rural School Funds (below link). Editor Campbell only published one side of the story without discussing all or most of the facts uncovered by the Oregonian newspaper. I was surprised to find that a local newspaper editor felt compelled to defend questionable behavior of County Commissioners. Definitely not an impartial article as I commented in 2020.

https://www.nrtoday.com/news/government/records-show-douglas-county-commissioner-reimbursed-county-for-pet-travel-first-class-airfare/article_fa0c80f6-27eb-5e27-8a79-49bb041d1801.html

CitizenJoe

mworden: No worries. If you smear horse-paste on your body, feral dogs won't bite you.

Mike

5 MORE Covid deaths in Douglas County were reported over this past weekend, bringing the total to 306 Covid deaths.

There have been 15 Covid deaths since the News-Review last reported on it on December 1.

Mike

Douglas County’s 302nd COVID-19 related death is a 61-year-old man who tested positive Oct. 18 and died Dec. 8 at Mercy Medical Center.

Douglas County’s 303rd Oregon’s COVID-19 related death is a 60-year-old woman who tested positive Nov. 22 and died Dec. 9 at Mercy Medical Center.

Douglas County’s 304th COVID-19 related death is a 95-year-old woman who tested positive Nov. 27 and died Dec. 10 at her residence.

Douglas County’s 305th COVID-19 related death is an 88-year-old man who tested positive Nov. 11 and died Nov. 23 at his residence.

Douglas County’s 306th COVID-19 related death is an 89-year-old woman who tested positive Sept. 4 and died Oct. 22 at her residence.

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/ORDHS/bulletins/300bed0

Momos

If you truly don't trust doctors about Covid and vaccines, why do you run to the very same doctors when you do catch Covid begging them to save your life? Or go to a doctor for any reason? They're all lying, right? You anti-vaxers are nothing but hypocrites if you go to ER with Covid. And yet, that's exactly what you do. Every single day. Tough talkers, but you won't back it up. The very definition of hypocrisy.

Mike

The NON-reporting of Covid appears to be an orchestrated effort of the News-Review and our County Commissioners to stop talking about Covid. The reason I say this is because:

1. For over a year, the News-Review published a large font COVID-19 BANNER at the top of page A3 of EVERY edition of its delivered newspaper indicating up-to-date case and death numbers for Douglas County, Oregon and the USA. Anyone wanting to know Douglas County’s Covid status need only turn to page A3.

2. The News-Review STOPPED publishing its COVID-19 BANNER at the top of page A3 on July 3, 2021. Daily death and case information was no longer published daily. This coincided with an announcement by our County Commissioners that it was disbanding its Covid-19 Response team on July 7 and was reducing its Covid Update press releases from 5 per week to 3 per week. Almost the exact same day the County Commissioners announced they were reducing their daily reporting of Covid deaths and cases, the News-Review stopped publishing its COVID-19 banner at the top of page A3. Douglas County had 84 deaths and 4,027 cases on July 7.

3. In addition to no longer publishing its COVID-19 BANNER at the top of page A3 on July 3, the News-Review also reduced its daily reporting of cases, deaths and hospitalizations in Douglas County to 3 articles or less per week.

4. The News-Review STOPPED updating their COVID-19 Case chart in their on-line edition on September 30. The case chart is still published daily on-line but hasn’t been updated since September 29 when there were 11,218 cases and 215 deaths in Douglas County. Last reported by the OHA, there are 301 deaths and 13,778 cases in Douglas County.

5. On November 10, 2021, our County Commissioners announced starting November 15, “COVID-19 Updates will be issued on Mondays and Thursdays each week.” That was later reduced without an announcement to one update per week on Wednesday only. Correspondingly, the News-Review reporting of Douglas County Covid deaths and cases has shrunk to a total of 5 articles since November 10. Douglas County had 236 deaths and 11,619 cases on November 10.

6. The News-Review’s last published article with an update of Douglas County Covid deaths, cases and hospitalizations was on December 2. There have been AT LEAST 8 more deaths and 292 cases reported in Douglas County by the Oregon Health Authority since December 2. None of which have been reported by the News-Review.

7. The News-Review’s Covid articles with Douglas County statistics were typically published immediately following a press release by our County Commissioners. As daily reports from our County Commissioners decreased to once weekly, so have News-Review articles. This makes no sense because the News-Review knows the Oregon Health Authority publishes the same Douglas County statistics daily. There is no reason for the News-Review to wait for our County Commissioners to issue a press release before publishing an article.

kaydee44

Gayle, I agree with you 100%. You need facts to make informed decisions. Won't be renewing my subscription with the NR.

Mike

Cancelling your prescription to the News-Review is exactly what our County Commissioners hope everyone will do so they can conduct their business and corruption unchecked. Preventing that is exactly the reason you should renew your prescription, in support of the News-Review. We need to have a community paper. We just need to do a better job convincing/shaming the News-Review into being a community newspaper first rather than a propaganda rag for our current Commissioners.

kaydee44

Good point, Mike.

CitizenJoe

Gayle Rosellini: I was about to respond, saying that by this point, infections and deaths have become simply a dog-bites-man story. But then, I read the absurd comments by the MAGAIgnoranceCrew (TM), and I realized that, yes, the News-Review really needs to publish more about the pandemic, and its vectors of misinformation.

dejadoodoo

[thumbup] I second that sentiment.

mworden

CitizenJoe: [thumbup] Accurate local information on a regular basis would be a great plus to the community.

I don't think of covid as a dog-bites-man kind of story. It's still a pack of feral dogs running wild and killing a person or two every day since mid-July. Just because some of the citizens think free-running feral dogs are the price we pay for freedom doesn't mean the other half of the citizens don't deserve to be updated daily about what the dogs are doing.

Mixing my metaphors and stretching it out to impossible lengths -- I hope the dogs don't attack any of the ostriches in town. Nobody deserves covid just because they think the wild dog problem is no big deal.

CitizenJoe

mworden: that pack of feral dogs is an apt metaphor.

Go ahead and stretch it! Put it on the rack. Torturing metaphors is actually one of my favorite blood sports, too,

dljones54

We need to put this ridiculous pandemic behind us and move on. We continue being fed lies every day from MSM because Covid has been about politics and money, not science. The numbers reported are inflated so more people can line their pockets. Take off your mask and live your life. King Kate and all the lying libs are partying and living their lives without masks so obviously they know something they don't want us to know. Stop worrying about false reports and live your life!

CitizenJoe

dljones54: also, contrails and 5G.

Birds aren't real. (Look it up!)

CitizenJoe

Birds aren't real. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/09/technology/birds-arent-real-gen-z-misinformation.html

TLogan

Let me first state that I know there is an issue with the "COVID-19 " and its variants.

My issue with your information is we, the people of the world have never been given the TRUE AND COMPLETE information on the virus.

I an not vaccinated nor do I conform to the mandates unless I am asked to leave an Establishment or I would be charged for transplassing. I am 61 with breathing issues, sleep apnea, chronic pain. I am out 3 to 4 times daily and I have not contracted anything major since 2017. That is when I quit working within the Douglas County school system.

Where is all the Colds and Flues gone to? People have been dieing from these for my entire life and then some. Not from the illness itself but of complications of breathing disorders or other organs failing.

Let's get back to getting the CORRECT and FULL information so we can make I formed decisions.

Huge bbfan

Worrying about something that you can't control is a waste of time and energy.

dejadoodoo

You might be profoundly correct! Guess we can finally say goodbye to your comments now :-)

Wretched722

There is sickness and death every single day around the world....do you really think it's necessary to keep tabs on all of it? Some of us would rather just get on with our lives and not be hammered every single day with this. If it is so important to you, then just go to the CDC website and you can keep track of the number of cases, the number of deaths, for every state, not to mention other countries around the world. But I think that's ghoulish, don't you?

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